I thought I'd share what I learned at this two-day conference called ICON Mastermind! There are a ton of mastermind workshops, but this one is run and led by Shannan Monson. She's a dietitian turned business strategist and quite the inspiration!
What is ICON Mastermind?
The purpose of this conference is for women in entrepreneurship to connect and collaborate together. Shannan guided us through how to sell and market a product or service. We heard incredible speakers like Natalie Ellis and Suneera Madhani share their stories and give advice on how to build our businesses. The idea of "masterminding" is to brainstorm together in groups. It's amazing how much growth can happen when we get other perspectives!
If you know me, you know I love a good guided meditation! Jen Diaz led us through a great one to help break through limiting beliefs. In the meditation, we connected with our younger self and envisioned our future self. I found this to be a powerful way to honor the past as we move forward into the future. After the meditation, we wrote everything we saw down, which is such a great idea and something I want to do more often after I meditate!
Next up, we mapped out how to transform an idea for a product or service. We narrowed in on who is our ideal client and wrote out the process. At this point, I realized I need more clarity......literally the second activity of the first day haha! I struggled to envision my ideal client and the transformation process, but this was a huge breakthrough for me! It forced me wake up and realize I have to make finding clarity a priority.
I would consider having clarity the first step to pursuing any kind of project, and to be totally transparent, I felt like I hadn't had great clarity for a loooong time. One of my favorite books, High Performance Habits, talks about the importance of clarity! They even provide a free mini assessment with the book to see what areas of the high performance habits need more or less attention. Ironically, clarity was my lowest category and the area I struggled with the most, but I didn't deal with it then. So now, at this conference surrounded by entrepreneurs doing their thing, I couldn't run from this problem. I had to show up for my life or just continue feeling meh about the direction of my blog.
So, changes have been made! You may have noticed that the header of my website now just has food and travel as the main topics. Mindfulness is under the lifestyle tab. I always felt like having food, travel and mindfulness was too much, but I couldn't imagine taking one away. After masterminding with others, I realized I'm creating a lifestyle brand. Mindfulness can still be incorporated just not emphasized the same way as food and travel. I'm working on updating my other social accounts as well to reflect the changes, so that'll be next!
During day 1, we also heard Natalie Ellis speak on Instagram and how to grow an audience. If you aren't familiar with Natalie, she is the CEO and co-founder of BossBabes. She's only 28 years old and has built a multi-million-dollar business. She had a lot of great insights, which I share below!
Some key take ways from this day, besides finding better clarity, came from moments people shared the challenges of running a business. Since I'm not running a full-blown biz, it was helpful to learn how others navigated the challenges that come with growth.
One woman shared how her business exploded and became so successful it unfortunately became uncontrollable. She has 25 employees and felt the business wasn't hers anymore and was considering selling it. Natalie and Shannan asked her what it was about the business she liked....turned out it was the design part rather than the CEO tasks. They suggested she could hire a CEO, so she can start taking more control and putting time into the part she loves - design. Or, of course, she could sell it and market herself as a free-lance designer. This helped her see her options and not feel so stuck with little control - a great reminder we always have options!
Another big lesson is to know when to delegate. Asking for help and hiring on support when necessary was a key take away. We can't do it all on our own, and the idea that we can balance life doing all the things is a complete lie. Natalie shared instead of phrasing it as work life balance she sees it as work life integration. I think that is such a better representation. Life ebbs and flows, and I find unbalance to be a normal part of life.
The day started with hearing Suneera Madhani's story. If you haven't heard of her, she is the CEO & founder of Fattmerchantt and took her company from startup to 5 billion in 5 years. This year they are on track to make 6 billion. She also became a mom to two babies in those 5 years! She is a powerhouse of a woman and so motivating to watch speak! Her Instagram handle is @mombossco if you want to check out her page. She takes no crap from the mom guilt train and shows women we don't have to choose between being a successful mom or having a successful career.
Now a brief summary on Suneera's story: she worked in corporate America for several years but was disgusted with ethics in her field (banking). She had a brilliant idea that no one was doing (subscription payment processing). She pitched her idea to 12 companies, which got shot down each time. Today, those companies work with her! If you want more details on her story, check out this article by Forbes.
Before this session with Suneera, we did work on creating a healthy money mindset. Money is a touchy subject for so many reasons....we don't think we deserve it, it's greedy to want more ect. But those beliefs don't serve anyone. Money is just money. It's not good or bad. It's money.
Natalie shared an idea I loved: whatever feeling we have around money is just a story, and one we can change. The way I see it, when we have a lot in terms of money, we have an even greater responsibility to lead and serve others well. Some people do that with their money, and some don't. But the point isn't to focus on others but on what we could do and what kind of impact we could have with greater funds. Reframing money this way has been so helpful for me to not see it as "evil" or "selfish." Plus, why would wanting more to better serve our families and communities be "selfish." It's not. It's moving forward and lighting the way for others to follow and better themselves.
So back to Suneera! She shared some statistics that really blew me away. Women owned businesses make up 30% of businesses. Honestly, I thought this would be lower, so it was good to hear that number. But the next statistic was shocking: out of the businesses that make more than 1 million in revenue less than 2% are owned by women. Read that again! We are growing in our presence in the entrepreneurial world, but we limit our capabilities. Suneera then asked us how many of us had a long-term goal to hit the $100,000 in our businesses. Half the room (myself included) raised their hands, to which she promptly said put your hands down!! We have to reach for more, more in growth, more in leadership, more in self-confidence.
To end the conference, we talked sales and marketing tactics in the digital world. How to make evergreen content aka content you can use over and over again for social posts. How to get comfortable with selling and how often to do it. Overall, this conference was amazing! I felt overwhelmed but had a feeling that would happen.
From those that I met, I was one of the youngest with the least experience in entrepreneurship, which was one of the main insecurities that held me back from signing up for this conference. But I'm so glad I didn't let that stop me! They say if you are the smartest or best in the room, then you are in the wrong room. Plus, one of the quickest ways to grow is by surrounding yourself with people doing better than you, have a skill you want to learn or in a position you want to attain.
Well, I think I definitely surrounded myself with inspiring women who pushed me outside my comfort zone and encouraged me to reach for more. I hope this inspires you to reach for more in your life. To not let insecurities keep you in the known path of life, and when we get to the other side of the tunnel, we shine that light for others to follow.